Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Snake Epidemic

If you've read my Blog for awhile you know I am no fan of snakes.  I used to say I "hated" snakes, but after some thought I've decided to pull back back from that opinion.  "Hate" is too strong of a word, and there is very little in this life that I truly hate - I try not to be like that.  A better word for my feelings towards snakes isn't one that I normally default to when describing my emotions.  It's a pride thing I suppose, and also probably has to do with when I was a kid and how pleased I was with myself when I got to the point that I no longer needed a night light.  That word is "afraid".

So there you go, I'm afraid of snakes.

As such, it should be easy for you to empathize with me on this post.  Much to my obvious chagrin, I have encountered a bunch of snakes while trail running this month.  Here's a breakdown:

Monday, April 4th, Bolsa Chica Wetlands

6.02 Miles, 1 Snake

Sunday, April 10th, Crystal Cove State Park

8.56 Miles - 1 snake

Wednesday, April 13th, Bolsa Chica Wetlands

7.02 Miles - 2 snakes


Friday, April 22nd, Bonner Canyon Ridge Road/El Moro Ridge Road

7.53 Miles - 0 snakes

Tuesday, April 26th, Bolsa Chica Wetlands

5.42 Miles - 2 snakes

Add all this up, and I've encountered 6 snakes in just over 28.5 miles.  This works out to seeing one snake every 4.75 miles.  This also means that based on past metrics, there is about a 20% chance that I will see a snake every time I run a mile.

These are unacceptable odds.

So, what are acceptable odds?  Naturally, I'd prefer nil.  But how about at least one "0" directly to the right of the decimal?  .02% would be fine.  .002% would be better.

I have some options.  I can avoid trails all together until the snakes go underground again in the fall.  But I'd rather not do this because Kovas's enthusiasm for trail running has proven itself contagious (the bastard).  Specific to Bolsa Chica Wetlands,  I can stay off the single track and only run on the flood control levees.  I would assume that snakes will not bother slithering up the 10 foot embankment just to sun themselves.  I could also find a running buddy who is not afraid of snakes.  My new friend would lead all our trail runs.  I think I'd feel better if someone was ahead of me making the initial contact with the snakes and then satisfactorily resolving the situation so that safe onward running is possible.

Or I could just get over my fear of snakes......


Nah, I'm good.

33 comments:

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

i'm ok with saying i HATE snakes. i was hiking down from a climb and started sliding on a scree field and missed landing my ass on a rattler by about 2 inches. freakin terrifying! i think that's the one reason i've put off trail running as long as i have, lol.

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

I'm pretty afraid, actually petrified of snakes myself. I so would not be on those trails myself! I give you a lot of credit!!

Chris K said...

I used to catch snakes when I was a kid. You know, back in the day when kids could roam around all day long during the summer by themselves.

While I was visiting my old friend in Oregon last summer I caught a snake with my bare hands. For old time sakes. Ask EMZ, she's seen the pic.

Joel said...

dude, I am SO with you on not liking snakes. I shuddered when I just looked at that last picture.

In my book, the only good snake is a dead snake.

XLMIC said...

Maybe trail running in spiked shoes... like those crampon thingies ice climbers wear? Or mace? Would that work on snakes? I jump when anything moves out on the trail... even cute lil bunnies :P

Pretend this is real said...

I figure that if Indiana Jones *dislikes* something, it's ok for the rest of us to follow suit.

Kate said...

Even when I'm on a bike they creep me out.

Kovas said...

The best thing is to get some venom therapy (or drink K-Venom), rendering yourself impervious to its effects. Or you could run in a pair of knee-high Doc Martens. Maybe carry a mongoose, unless that's only for cobras. What kind of snakes are these again?

P said...

Ick! That last pic made me scream like a girl.
Thankfully, I've only seen dead snakes while I'm out and about, I would be freaked out by a live one!

Jennifer said...

I'll come run with you! I actually really like snakes. I know...weird.

Christi said...

I have to deal with snakes on the trail by my house and I am not happy about that. I just hope there are no rattlers!

The Sean said...

I have seen 10 snakes already this year... two yesterday and I have not even been logging the normal mileage this month- so I agree, epidemic- I usually only see 3 or so a summer...

Johann said...

I like snakes and have had a few as pets but seriously, you have encountered a lot of them. I like them, but still respect them. On the trails I keep my distance.

JessiePants said...

Careful out there! Snakes are something we are taught to fear from the time we are wee little folks and that is something hard to overcome.

TRI714 said...

Patrick I love you bro, but I'm not taking one for the team. I'm on the dislike side of snakes. And at 45 don't see that changing anytime soon. I say run those trails with a wrist rocket !! YA i SAID IT.

Bruce said...

Just use that adrenalin rush you get to propel you to PR's on the trail. May help your vertical jump as well!

We deal with snakes here as well. Last year, I came upon some trail runners coming the opposite way who had just encountered a tarantula. With animated voices they encouraged me to beware and TO KILL IT! :)

Glenn Jones said...

What kind of snakes? I'm staying off the single tracks in the hills right now because the rattlers are out in force.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

I am very cool with using the term "Hate" in regards to these toothy bastards. I had a copperhead strike me in the leg when I was 20yrs old. That day I declared war on all snakes, FU PETA, snakes and me cannot co-exist!!

I have seen more snakes this year already than all of last year and I saw a lot last year. Found some snake skin in my backyard yesterday.

Quit running the trails at the beginning of March - to many copperheads and moccassins - just too dangerous.

If a place you run has the word "Wetlands" in its name you might want to consider staying away from there (-:

ajh said...

I am not ashamed to say I HATE snakes and I am AFRAID of snakes. I don't let them keep me inside but I don't know if I could go where I saw them a lot. We have snakes around here but knock knock knock hard on lots of wood I don't see them often. You have seen a lot in a short time and I ADMIRE you for keeping at it.

ajh said...

I have goosebumps just from the picture.

Stacey (aka Ultraprincess) said...

I am afraid of snakes also..... but I once held an 85 pound yellow python (goal was to desensitize myself... did't work).

On a positive note: I held a tarantula and it did lessen my fear of spiders..... Normal, small house spiders to be precise. If I encountered a wild tarantula I would poop myself!!

Lauren said...

I am one of the oddballs -- I don't hate snakes, don't even dislike them. I have even found myself picking up my pace so I can get a closer look at the snake. I will say that I do not like when they coil up to strike.

Here are some pointers:
1) Always be looking for rattlers (because that's the only one that worries me around here), as soon as you stop looking you'll see one.
2) Give them their space -- don't get too close, but remember, that don't have a huge striking distance.
3) Don't step on sticks (they could be snakes).
4) Don't jump over logs, instead jump up onto the log then leap off (snakes like to shade in the shadow of logs)
5) If you do get struck, don't panick. Do not get that heart rate going by running for help -- that will only help the venom run through your body faster. Instead (if you can't sit down and call for help), WALK back to your car and drive to the ER.
6) It is rare for an adult to die from a rattlesnake bite.

Does that make you feel any better? : )

Patrick Mahoney said...

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for the tips they are awesome. As to them making me feel better? Not sure.

The Green Girl said...

You sure picked a terrifying picture to portray you not overcoming your fear.

Caratunk Girl said...

See, you have poisonous snakes there in CA, so really, it is cool to be afraid of them.

In Maine, there are no poisonous snakes, so I love seeing them and play with them because I think they are really cool creatures (I am weird).. But I wouldn't get near a CA snake with a 10 foot pole.

Emz said...

I'm
Always
The
Funny
One.

Evolving Through Running said...

Indiana Jones hates snakes too, so you can still be as manly as Indy and continue to agree-to-disagree with the slithery buggers.

I'm not a big fan of snakes, but they generally don't trouble me. Lived in the Phillipines for a few years as a kid, which I think made me fairly numb to snakes for the rest of my life.

cheryl said...

I love me some snakes on the trail-always look for them when riding my mtn. bike and running! So interesting to watch...we encountered two bull snakes last weekend and hope to see them again tomorrow! They are wonderful creatures and will leave you alone if you leave them alone!

LB said...

what a sissy, that snake looks harmless!

Jill said...

Snakes, ick! I almost killed myself when I was mt. biking and there was one on the trail sunning itself. Came cenimeters from running over it...I'm haunted for life I fear.

Colleen said...

I couldn't do it...

Petraruns said...

eww! Thank god England is so boring - we just have terrorists, perverts and random murderers who want to kill us, no snakes.

Luke said...

What type of snakes are you encountering mostly?

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